Two old Vicksburg houses get nod to be landmarks|[05/09/07]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Two Vicksburg properties may soon be named Vicksburg Landmarks if city officials take the recommendation of a committee charged with preserving historic buildings and structures.

And, proposed renovations to the upstairs of a building along Washington Street may be put on hold for now, according to a Tuesday meeting of the city’s Board of Architectural Review.

Vicksburg’s Historic Preservation Commission, whose members also make up the Board of Architectural Review, voted Tuesday to recommend the first two properties to the Board of Mayor and Alderman. The Vicksburg Landmark designation deems properties, sites and structures with special historic or architectural value for listing and assistance through the Vicksburg Board of Architectural Review.

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The first property, 1022 Monroe St., owned by David Mitchell and Andrew Dawson, is otherwise known as the Bazsinsky House for the family who built it. The Italianate home, built in 1870, had a semi-circular porch added in the early 1900s, said Nancy Bell, director of the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation. The owners, who have a family history that gives a timeline of the house, originally believed the home was built in 1840. The house is already located in the local historic district, although it has never been individually listed.

&#8220And, that’s what the owners would like,” Bell told members of the Board of Architectural Review, who also serve on the preservation commission. &#8220It fits every one of the guidelines.”

The second property, 2521 Drummond St., built in 1880 and formerly owned by Dr. and Mrs. Donald Hall Sr., is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributor of the historic district, Bell said.

&#8220Buildings are identified as contributors or non-contributors. The fact that it is should make it automatically a Vicksburg Landmark,” she said. &#8220By virtue of being a contributor, that tells you it meets the criteria.”

Separately, board members voted on changes to the first floor of 1209 Washington St., a building that formerly housed Wyatt’s Pawn Shop. Its owner, Jay Jabour, told the board he plans to rehabilitate the entire facade of the building, which he plans to use for retail space on the first floor and apartments on the second floor. He also plans to move the store’s front up to the sidewalk that looks out onto Washington Street, while replacing doors that &#8220mimic the current doors,” he said. Other approved improvements will be to put in single-light windows, repair transoms and replace a brick bulkhead.

An added balcony on the second floor also won board approval. However, the board did not agree to Jabour’s plan of making the existing windows have a French-style opening to the balcony. The historic code enforcement to which the board adheres does not allow changes to original windows on upper floors, said Chairman Toni Lanford-Ferguson.

&#8220We have to do what the book says,” said board member Tom Pharr. &#8220This building is a gem because it has (original windows). You’ve got one of the most important properties. We want to keep our few precious gems intact without changing too much.

The board also didn’t approve of the &#8220corn stalk” railing Jabour chose for the balcony, which he said resembles &#8220old New Orleans-style railing.”

&#8220We’d like to help you find something that makes you happy – something that’s not as comical as corn stalk railing,” Pharr said. &#8220I would worry about the integrity of the building with that design.”

At Lanford-Ferguson’s request, the board agreed to table a decision on the railing until its next meeting May 22.